One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
‘Let the superior answer’; the principle that an employer can be held liable for certain wrongs committed by an employee during the course of his or her employment.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Edward Coke (1552–1634), lawyer, legal writer, and politician. From post-classical Latin respondeat superior ‘let the superior answer’ from classical Latin respondeat, 3rd person singular present subjunctive of respondēre + superior.
respondeat superior/rɪˌspɒndɪat s(j)uːˈpɪərɪə//rɪˌspɒndɪat s(j)uːˈpɛrɪɔː/
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